How tough are Wild Cards?

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Zadmar
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How tough are Wild Cards?

#1 Postby Zadmar » Sun Sep 09, 2012 5:24 pm

Wild Cards are the movers and shakers, the heroes and villains, the tough guys. They get a wild die, 3 wound levels, and 2 bennies (3 if they're players). But just how much of an advantage does that really give them?

I thought it'd be interesting to break it down and run some tests. For these tests I've used two characters with d6 across the board, each armed with a shortsword.

Fight 1: Both fighters are Extras.

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 49910 of them, while Beta won 50090.
The average duration of a fight was 3 rounds.


Fight 2: Alpha has the ability to survive 1 wound level.

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 56135 of them, while Beta won 43865.
The average duration of a fight was 4 rounds.


Fight 3: Alpha has the ability to survive 2 wound levels.

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 58801 of them, while Beta won 41199.
The average duration of a fight was 5 rounds.


Fight 4: Alpha has the ability to survive 3 wound levels.

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 61546 of them, while Beta won 38454.
The average duration of a fight was 6 rounds.


Fight 5: Alpha has 1 benny.

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 59287 of them, while Beta won 40713.
The average duration of a fight was 3 rounds.


Fight 6: Alpha has 2 bennies.

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 62074 of them, while Beta won 37926.
The average duration of a fight was 3 rounds.


Fight 7: Alpha has a wild die.

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 68596 of them, while Beta won 31404.
The average duration of a fight was 2 rounds.


Fight 8: Alpha is now a full Wild Card (with 2 bennies).

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 91994 of them, while Beta won 8006.
The average duration of a fight was 3 rounds.


Fight 9: Alpha now has 3 bennies, the same as a PC Wild Card.

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 93225 of them, while Beta won 6775.
The average duration of a fight was 3 rounds.


Fight 10: We give Beta a second shortsword, along with Frenzy, Improved Frenzy, Ambidextrous, Two-Fisted, Counterattack, Improved Counterattack, Combat Reflexes, Hardy, Lunge and First Strike.

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 52699 of them, while Beta won 47301.
The average duration of a fight was 2 rounds.


In summary, Wild Cards are much tougher than Extras. The difference obviously varies based on traits, for example the advantage of the wild die drops from 68.6% wins to 58.9% wins if both warriors have Fighting d12. But there's still a big difference.

This is particularly interesting if you're looking into creating stronger Extras. The "competent extra" that some people favour (an Extra with a wild die) results in the fastest fights. A good choice for offering the players more of a challenge without dragging out the battles.

The "tough extra" (extra wound levels) is weaker, but results in the slowest fights. A good choice if you want an opponent who can survive longer, without making them too difficult for the players to beat.

The "lucky extra" (bennies) falls between the two, although without a wild die it's not so great at soaking, but the benny is particularly handy for removing Shaken status. Of course as a GM you'll probably have bennies of your own, so this may not be so important.

EDIT: Clarified that "wound level" refers to what they can survive.
Last edited by Zadmar on Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:17 am, edited 2 times in total.

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#2 Postby Cryonic » Sun Sep 09, 2012 8:01 pm

Very nice simulations. It makes sense that the Wild Die has less of an impact as the size of the skill die rises. To roll a 12 on a d6 is a 1/36 chance vs a 1/12 for the d12.

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#3 Postby sablemage » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:56 am

Very interesting, thanks for that Zadmar.

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#4 Postby Lord Karick » Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:58 am

Very interesting to read the stats, though I can't quite get my head round the reasons for Alpha being more likely to win Fight 2, given that he's pre-wounded. Mis-labeled?

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#5 Postby Zadmar » Mon Sep 10, 2012 3:15 am

Lord Karick wrote:Very interesting to read the stats, though I can't quite get my head round the reasons for Alpha being more likely to win Fight 2, given that he's pre-wounded. Mis-labeled?

Sorry, poorly phrased perhaps. When I say "X wound level/s" I don't mean they're already wounded, I mean they have the ability to withstand wounds. An Extra can normally survive 0 wounds, while a Wild Card can survive 3, but it's interesting to see the impact as the number of wounds they can survive increases.

I've edited the post to clarify.

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#6 Postby Sean-Khan » Mon Sep 10, 2012 4:48 am

Interesting results! I don't know how hard these tests are to set up, but I'd also be interested in hearing about results of wild cards vs 2+ extras.

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#7 Postby Zadmar » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:18 am

Sean-Khan wrote:Interesting results! I don't know how hard these tests are to set up, but I'd also be interested in hearing about results of wild cards vs 2+ extras.

Alpha against 2 Betas.

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 53751 of them, while the Beta won 46249.
The average duration of a fight was 5 rounds.


Alpha against 3 Betas.

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 14064 of them, while the Beta won 85936.
The average duration of a fight was 4 rounds.


Alpha against 4 Betas.

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 1390 of them, while Beta won 98610.
The average duration of a fight was 2 rounds.


The extra attacks combined with the Gang Up bonus give the Extras a huge advantage against a "normal" build. For example:

>>> ROUND 1:

Alpha launches an attack...
Fighting roll of 8 vs Parry of 5 = HIT
Damage roll of 21 vs Toughness of 5 = SHAKEN, 4 WOUNDS, INCAPACITATED
Beta1 attempts to survive incapacitation...
Vigor roll of 1 vs TN4 = FAILURE (dead)
Beta2 launches an attack...
Fighting roll of 3+2=5 vs Parry of 5 = HIT
Damage roll of 5 vs Toughness of 5 = SHAKEN
Beta3 launches an attack...
Fighting roll of 9+2=11 vs Parry of 5 = HIT WITH RAISE
Damage roll of 8 vs Toughness of 5 = 1 WOUND
Alpha spends a benny to try and Soak...
Vigor roll of 5 vs TN4 = SUCCESS (Soaks the wound, removes Shaken)
Beta4 launches an attack...
Fighting roll of 4+2=6 vs Parry of 5 = HIT
Damage roll of 15 vs Toughness of 5 = SHAKEN, 2 WOUNDS
Alpha spends a benny to try and Soak...
Vigor roll of 2 vs TN4 = FAILURE (Soaks 0 wounds)

>>> ROUND 2:

Beta2 launches an attack...
Fighting roll of 5+2=7 vs Parry of 5 = HIT
Damage roll of 6 vs Toughness of 5 = 1 WOUND
Beta3 launches an attack...
Fighting roll of 4+2=6 vs Parry of 5 = HIT
Damage roll of 30 vs Toughness of 5 = 6 WOUNDS, INCAPACITATED
Alpha attempts to survive incapacitation...
Vigor roll of 3-3=0 vs TN4 = FAILURE (possibly dying)

>>> VICTORY: Beta has defeated Alpha

The Wild Card could build for it though - Edges like Level Headed, Sweep, Combat Sense, etc, could make a big difference.

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#8 Postby Sean-Khan » Mon Sep 10, 2012 7:33 am

Wow, that gets pretty harsh against numerous extras, almost 99% lose against 4 extras of similar combat skills! The situation wouldn't be quite that bad in reality I think, the extras wouldn't gain immediate gang-up bonuses.

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Re: How tough are Wild Cards?

#9 Postby Clint » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:10 am

Zadmar wrote:Wild Cards are the movers and shakers, the heroes and villains, the tough guys. They get a wild die, 3 wound levels, and 2 bennies (3 if they're players). But just how much of an advantage does that really give them?


Just wondering (didn't see it noted) but do the additional wound levels apply wound penalties when they occur?
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#10 Postby Zadmar » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:45 am

Sean-Khan wrote:Wow, that gets pretty harsh against numerous extras, almost 99% lose against 4 extras of similar combat skills! The situation wouldn't be quite that bad in reality I think, the extras wouldn't gain immediate gang-up bonuses.

If they're acting on the same initiative card (which is usually the case for identical Extras) then they'd all get the full Gang Up bonus each round. If they had separate initiative cards then they'd move and attack one after the other, but that would also give them a much higher chance of landing blows first.

Things get really hairy if they start using wild attack:

1 vs 1: There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 94223 of them, while Beta won 5777.

1 vs 2: There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 52260 of them, while Beta won 47740.

1 vs 3: There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 5240 of them, while Beta won 94760.

1 vs 4: There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 31 of them, while Beta won 99969.

In fact, 1 vs 4 is the first scenario I've seen where Alpha would be better off not using wild attack, even if his opponents were:

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 36 of them, while Beta won 99964.

Clint wrote:Just wondering (didn't see it noted) but do the additional wound levels apply wound penalties when they occur?

Yes, although they're not applied until after the soak roll - let me find a better example...

>>> ROUND 1:

Beta1 launches an attack...
Fighting roll of 5+1=6 vs Parry of 5 = HIT
Damage roll of 6 vs Toughness of 5 = SHAKEN
Beta2 launches an attack...
Fighting roll of 4+1=5 vs Parry of 5 = HIT
Damage roll of 14 vs Toughness of 5 = 2 WOUNDS
Alpha spends a benny to try and Soak...
Vigor roll of 3 vs TN4 = FAILURE (Soaks 0 wounds)
Alpha tries to recover from being shaken...
Spirit roll of 2-2=0 vs TN4 = FAILURE
Alpha spends a benny to remove Shaken status.
Alpha launches an attack...
Fighting roll of 9-2=7 vs Parry of 5 = HIT
Damage roll of 6 vs Toughness of 5 = SHAKEN

>>> ROUND 2:

Alpha launches an attack...
Fighting roll of 5-2=3 vs Parry of 5 = MISS
Beta1 tries to recover from being shaken...
Spirit roll of 9 vs TN4 = SUCCESS WITH RAISE
Beta1 launches an attack...
Fighting roll of 3+1=4 vs Parry of 5 = MISS
Beta2 launches an attack...
Fighting roll of 4+1=5 vs Parry of 5 = HIT
Damage roll of 10 vs Toughness of 5 = SHAKEN, 1 WOUND

>>> ROUND 3:

Alpha tries to recover from being shaken...
Spirit roll of 5-3=2 vs TN4 = FAILURE
Beta1 launches an attack...
Fighting roll of 4+1=5 vs Parry of 5 = HIT
Damage roll of 7 vs Toughness of 5 = 1 WOUND (upgraded from Shaken), INCAPACITATED
Alpha attempts to survive incapacitation...
Vigor roll of 8-3=5 vs TN4 = SUCCESS (just knocked out)

>>> VICTORY: Beta has defeated Alpha

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#11 Postby ValhallaGH » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:07 am

Zadmar wrote:1 vs 4: There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 31 of them, while Beta won 99969.

In fact, 1 vs 4 is the first scenario I've seen where Alpha would be better off not using wild attack, even if his opponents were:

Not actually surprising. When your foes have a bonus on their attacks that equals your parry (+5 in this case: +2 wild attack +3 gang-up), they're rolling for a raise. Reducing your parry makes their raises much more likely (roll of 2+ instead of a roll of 4+), and 3d6+2 damage (instead of 2d6+2) is fight ending against a normal-range toughness.
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#12 Postby Ryche » Mon Sep 10, 2012 10:07 am

What would happen if Alpha had Sweep or Imp Sweep against the 4 Beta in a round. Does that level the field at all?

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#13 Postby Sean-Khan » Mon Sep 10, 2012 12:42 pm

Zadmar wrote:
Sean-Khan wrote:Wow, that gets pretty harsh against numerous extras, almost 99% lose against 4 extras of similar combat skills! The situation wouldn't be quite that bad in reality I think, the extras wouldn't gain immediate gang-up bonuses.

If they're acting on the same initiative card (which is usually the case for identical Extras) then they'd all get the full Gang Up bonus each round. If they had separate initiative cards then they'd move and attack one after the other, but that would also give them a much higher chance of landing blows first.

Oh. Thanks for clarifying. That's pretty mean for heroes :twisted:

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#14 Postby Cutter XXIII » Mon Sep 10, 2012 1:08 pm

Sean-Khan wrote:
Zadmar wrote:
Sean-Khan wrote:Wow, that gets pretty harsh against numerous extras, almost 99% lose against 4 extras of similar combat skills! The situation wouldn't be quite that bad in reality I think, the extras wouldn't gain immediate gang-up bonuses.

If they're acting on the same initiative card (which is usually the case for identical Extras) then they'd all get the full Gang Up bonus each round. If they had separate initiative cards then they'd move and attack one after the other, but that would also give them a much higher chance of landing blows first.

Oh. Thanks for clarifying. That's pretty mean for heroes :twisted:

Sure is! Our game experience bears this out.

A few years ago when Bretbo was running Slipstream for us, we acquired a group of four allied Extra Lion Men. In combat, the four of them would move across the battlefield Ganging Up on each Primal they encountered. Wild Card or Extra, they dropped like flies.

It wasn't long before our Lion Men grew "homesick" and had to leave us. :wink:
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#15 Postby Zadmar » Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:17 pm

Rÿche wrote:What would happen if Alpha had Sweep or Imp Sweep against the 4 Beta in a round. Does that level the field at all?

Sweep:

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 17423 of them, while Beta won 82577.

Improved Sweep:

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 35101 of them, while Beta won 64899.

When they both use wild attack...

Sweep:

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 26676 of them, while Beta won 73324.

Improved Sweep:

There were 100000 fights. Alpha won 44246 of them, while Beta won 55754.

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#16 Postby ValhallaGH » Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:51 pm

I think the lesson is that, as in real life, fighting 4 to 1 odds where the foe can use them is a Bad Idea (tm). Bravely run away, instead, and live to kill them later. :lol:
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#17 Postby farik » Mon Sep 10, 2012 5:54 pm

So how are bennies being used? First failed roll? If the lowest result on a die occurs? Only to soak?

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#18 Postby Zadmar » Mon Sep 10, 2012 6:01 pm

ValhallaGH wrote:I think the lesson is that, as in real life, fighting 4 to 1 odds where the foe can use them is a Bad Idea (tm). Bravely run away, instead, and live to kill them later. :lol:

With Improved Sweep they actually do pretty well - and if I threw in Combat Senses (from NE) they'd do even better.

But the combat simulator doesn't handle tactics, and those are likely to play a bigger role in group fights. It's good for number crunching and giving a general overview, but the more detailed it becomes the more assumptions it has to make.

farik wrote:So how are bennies being used? First failed roll? If the lowest result on a die occurs? Only to soak?

The combat simulator has three options for bennies:

1) Removing Shaken status if you fail your Spirit roll.

2) Having an action if your Spirit roll was just a normal success.

3) Soak rolls.

By default I've got them all switched on. It won't reroll soaks, even if the first roll is a failure (although perhaps it should in that case). It doesn't try to reroll attacks at all.

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#19 Postby samuraicrab » Mon Sep 10, 2012 8:19 pm

:blam: All wild cards are tougher then a $2 dollar steak!

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#20 Postby ValhallaGH » Mon Sep 10, 2012 9:22 pm

Zadmar wrote:
ValhallaGH wrote:I think the lesson is that, as in real life, fighting 4 to 1 odds where the foe can use them is a Bad Idea (tm). Bravely run away, instead, and live to kill them later. :lol:

With Improved Sweep they actually do pretty well - and if I threw in Combat Senses (from NE) they'd do even better.

That's kind of my point. With Improved Sweep, you're built to favor a fight against a large group, but your odds of victory are still less than 45% - not something to bet your life upon.
Using a few simple tactics (fight from a corner where only a couple of them can get at you, just to name a classic) vastly increases your odds.

Combat Senses (which negates the Gang-Up bonus, for those that don't know) would effectively turn the extras into a guy with four arms, omni-dexterity and all-fisted, and three wounds. Four guys, one guy, one thousand guys, they all fight equally well against Combat Senses.
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